When one surprising diagnosis quickly became two, Amber was referred to BluePearl for life-saving treatment and multi-specialty care – resulting in an innovative treatment plan that was just right for her.

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Amber is a 13-year-old chocolate Labrador and red nose pit bull mix – recognizable by her loving eyes and distinguished, graying fur. She lives in Maitland, Florida, with her owner, Jodi.

One day, she started regurgitating hours after eating. Jodi took Amber to her primary veterinarian, where chest x-rays revealed she had megaesophagus – a condition affecting the muscles in the esophagus.

The next day, things took a turn for the worse.

While her family was processing her new diagnosis, Amber’s symptoms worsened, and she needed emergency veterinary care. Jodi was referred to BluePearl Pet Hospital in Maitland, where she would have access to 24-hour services and multiple specialists under one roof.

One of her BluePearl veterinarians, Dr. April Summers, who is board-certified in emergency and critical care, explained her diagnoses:

A close up of an older, reddish brown dog with a greying face.

“She had the tell-tale enlarged esophagus, and then she also had aspiration pneumonia, likely secondary to her megaesophagus,” said Dr. Summers.

Amber received around-the-clock care.

Her treatments included IV antibiotics to heal the infection in her lungs quickly, as well as oxygen support.

When her pneumonia resolved and her case became less serious in nature, her BluePearl veterinary team – which also included Dr. Sara Wilkes, Dr. Christina Chan, who is board-certified in veterinary internal medicine, and Kaley Esley, certified veterinary technician – focused on creating a personalized megaesophagus care plan just right for Amber’s ongoing needs and lifestyle.

Managing megaesophagus in dogs involves keeping the patient upright both during and immediately after eating. Amber’s team recommended a simple and effective solution – using an exercise ball to keep her sitting comfortably in the right position during mealtime.

A woman walks in a park with her dog, a reddish brown Labrador pit bull mix with a greying face.

Jodi and Amber received hands-on training from Kaley Esley to feel confident using this technique and administering her new medications at home.

“I am so grateful to everybody at BluePearl for taking such good care of her. All of the vets and all the vet techs, and even the front desk staff were amazing,” says Jodi.

Amber and Jodi have adjusted beautifully to their new routine, which still includes lots of leisurely walks and gentle pets – as well as the addition of Amber’s cozy blue exercise ball.